Other People’s ARCs

Well, this is fun and unexpected.

The Emus have a tradition of sending their ARCs around to each other before the release date. So every once in a while, I’ll go out to the mailbox and there will be a package with a shiny, brand, brand new book. The fun element of that needs no explanation.


The unexpected part may require a bit. For me, learning to write has meant reading. Stacks and stacks of books. But it’s a different kind of reading—a take-this-apart-in-my-head-and-figure-out-how-they’re-doing-this kind of reading. An if-this-doesn’t-grab-me-in-the-first-few-pages-I’m-ditching-it-and-moving-to-the-next-one-in-the-pile kind of reading. Necessary, maybe, but a far cry from how I used to snuggle up with a book when I was a kid.

Reading these books is different. It’s not research. I know the person who wrote it. I’m reading it because I’m curious. Because I’m wondering what story she’s managed to tell. Which is really a whole lot better way to read a book.

There are some writers in this group. They can write a book about squash and make it interesting. And funny.

Sophie's Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller

They can get you interested in a little kid who has a thing for Vietnamese cinnamon and whisks.


They can combine freshmen and a conservatory in a mysterious forest and opera and this mythic cat which may or may not kill you and this guy who is the only guy in literature who looks good in green sweat pants and it all works. Really.

Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

It’s been a lot of fun to be along for the ride and to be reminded of what it feels like to read a book for fun. To, in a way, be reminded of who we’re writing for. The kid who makes her dad read that picture book to her every night for two months. That ten year old who sneaks the flashlight up to his room and then is so pumped when he finishes the book that he has to come down and talk to someone about it even though it will mean ratting himself out about that whole flashlight thing. The sixteen year old girl on the bus that almost misses her stop because she’s gotten to a really good part.

I need to do more of this kind of reading.


mylisa_email_2-2Mylisa Larsen has been telling stories for a long time. This has caused her to get gimlet-eyed looks from her parents, her siblings and, later, her own children when they felt that certain stories had been embellished beyond acceptable limits. She now writes children’s books where her talents for hyperbole are actually rewarded.

She is the author of the picture books, How to Put Your Parents to Bed coming out February 9, 2016 (Katherine Tegen Books) and If I Were A Kangaroo (Viking.)


Filed under ARCs

7 responses to “Other People’s ARCs

  1. Mylisa,
    You nailed it…we always need to keep in mind who we’re writing for. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that. Thanks for the reminder 🙂
    And reading the books of writer friends we have met in person or online is such an exciting experience. You said it well…we’re wondering what story they’ve managed to tell.


  2. I love reading books by writer friends!! I’m excited for the stories and excited for them & their books. Thanks for reminding us of one of the totally awesome parts of doing what we do. 🙂

    Also, that is the best synopsis of my book ever.


  3. I love that kind of reading! You’re exactly right, and it’s so great when you can just forget you’re reading to learn and just read for fun.

    Then again, it’s nice to justify reading… and book purchases… as “work.”


  4. Thank you so much for including me in this! I am honored. I already have All Four Stars on pre-order and am rushing out to pre-order Strange Sweet Song. I’ve got to meet the sweat pants dude.


  5. I love when I am reading a book by someone I know and I see something incredible they did on the page (or even how they put the whole book together) and I think, “Wow. I can call them up and tell them how much I liked their book.” For me, it’s like being able to call George Clooney or Judi Dench and tell them what a great performance they did in their latest film. Yeah. It’s like that.


    • Yes! It really is like that! I’m so excited to get my first ARCs in the EMU sharing cycle, so that I can gush right to the authors about their great work. It’s been such fun reading already-published EMU books and then being able to message or e-mail the authors to tell them directly how fabulous they are.


  6. kevanjatt

    Though I’ve never had an ARC sent my way, I do so love reading books my friends and agency mates have written. In an odd (and undeserving) way I take pride in them.


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